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This month’s ‘Indoor Ag Science Café’ featured Robert Colangelo, Founder of Green Sense Farms, as a speaker. In his presentation ‘Growing the Vertical Farming Industry – How Industry and Academia can Work Together’, Colangelo discussed the current status of indoor farming industries, gaps and cultural differences between businesses and academia, as well as possible strategies to work together on R&D for common critical technologies. Indoor Ag Science Café is a monthly online forum organized by three scientists (Chieri Kubota, Ohio State U; Erik Runkle, Michigan State U; and Cary Mitchell, Purdue U).

Please contact kubota.10@osu.edu to join the café.



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 8:46 am

The expansion will double the Burton, OH-based company’s growing capacity and includes significant upgrades in automation and packaging technology.

The post Great Lakes Growers to Add 80,000 Square Feet of Herbs, Leafy Greens Production appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 6:29 am

In celebration of National Farm to School Month, on Monday, October 15th, Nelson and Pade donated over one hundred heads of f



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Growers rarely whether the greenhouse is really clean, after the contractor has paid a visit to disinfect the greenhouse. Jos



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

A malfunction of the packaging robot, on the automatic transport or on a trolley stacker. Just a bit of tinkering, a little d



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Kale. Is there a more Dutch product than that in the vegetable aisle? Maybe it is due to the ever-changing seasons us Dutch p



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Valoya, manufacturer of LED grow lights, known for their photobiology research focus, announce a free webinar for professiona



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

With scarce nutrients and weak gravity, growing potatoes on the Moon or on other planets seems unimaginable. But the plant ho



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

CABI has launched PestSmart Diagnostics in Europe and North America, the first in a series of new e-learning courses based on



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Earlier this year, Intelligent Growth Solutions unveiled its



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Plantible Foods, creators of an allergen-free protein derived from lemna, has completed a pre-seed funding round led by Unsha



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Research assignments that are being withdrawn, companies that are deciding to relocate their R&D departments outside Euro



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Britain’s farmers will no longer have privileged access to cheap low-skilled workers from the EU after Brexit, according to t



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Recreational use of cannabis became legal in Canada on October 17, 2018. AgSafe, British Columbia’s agriculture health and sa



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

We recently reported that Egyptian tomato exports had been shut down due to virus problems. This is not the case and turned o



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

The series of kick-off meetings introducing HortEx Vietnam 2019, the 2nd International Exhibition and Conference for Horticul



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Schoeller Allibert’s new standard foldable intermediate bulk container (IBC) is designed for international logistics. The Com



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

The Star Group’s CEO, David Karwacki, is ready to pass the baton of start-up company Whole Leaf to a new President. Whole Lea



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

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Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

"Dutch horticulture wants to share its knowledge with China to help ensure safe and clean food production." Martin van Gogh,



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

“We are going to launch another 120 ha of greenhouses, increasing the productivity by 70 thousand tons. Thus, in 2019 we are



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Supplies of eggplant look a little tighter after Hurricane Florence.

“Supplies are moderate. There’s not an overabund



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

A new University of California strawberry cultivar, UC9, is harvested in Prunevale, California. The goal of the breeding prog



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

A California-based grocery chain is recalling almost half a ton of ready-to-eat salads, including the 365 brand sold by Whole



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Today the PMA kicks off in Orlando, Florida. The exhibition traditionally is the meeting place for the fresh produce trading



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

Over the next year, the digital skills of 100,000 Kenyan farmers will definitely change. Google.org has announced $900,000 tr



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

With the state’s late summer and fall vegetable crop close to harvest, Georgia vegetable farmers estimate more than $480 mill



Posted on 19 October 2018 | 5:25 am

The Flowr Corporation, a Canadian Licensed Producer of premium cannabis products, and Hawthorne Canada Limited celebrated on October […]

The post Hawthorne And Flowr Pioneering Private Cannabis Research In North America appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 18 October 2018 | 1:57 pm

Through the use of proven best management practices, peat industry members are developing systems designed to return harvested peatlands to peat-accumulating ecosystems.

The post How the Canadian Peat Moss Industry is Working to Restore Peatlands appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 18 October 2018 | 11:11 am

The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario, Canada, has released its 2018 Innovations Report, an annual publication that highlights some of the latest research taking place at the Centre.

The post Vineland Researchers Tackling Automation, Greenhouse Tomatoes, Thrips, and More appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 18 October 2018 | 8:29 am

Greenhouse growers are not alone in searching for solutions to the trucking and shipping challenges facing them. Here’s how two companies are helping growers deal with increasingly stringent regulations.

The post New Shipping Innovations Helping Greenhouse Growers Navigate Transportation Challenges appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 17 October 2018 | 11:42 am

After experiencing issues with Xanthamonas in 2017 that affected the begonia supply in the North American market, Dümmen Orange has deeply invested in new disease-reducing production methods. Recent efforts have focused on defining and implementing improvements to ensure a reliable, quality supply of begonia cuttings for the spring of 2019.

The post Dümmen Orange Uses Bioassay Assessments to Improve Begonia Stock appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 16 October 2018 | 8:54 am

The company has added 39 acres in Oxnard, which has a coastal climate conducive to proper orchid cultivation.

The post Westerlay Orchids Expands California Production appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 16 October 2018 | 6:50 am

Members of The Garden Media Group presented Cool Product Awards at The Landscape Show 2018, which took place in early October in Orlando, FL, to 14 companies representing 15 award-winning products.

The post 15 New Plants and Products for Landscape Growers appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 16 October 2018 | 5:56 am

You may be growing some of the highest-quality plants the industry has to offer, but if you can’t get them to your customers on time and with the same quality, it won’t matter.

The post Shipping Update: Greenhouse Growers Face Driver Shortages, Stringent Trucking Rules appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 15 October 2018 | 12:10 pm

Adding natural biological organisms to your growing medium can provide benefits such as root disease suppression or reduce plant stress to maintain optimal plant growth.

The post Webinar Will Address Benefits of Biological Active Ingredients for Growing Media appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.



Posted on 14 October 2018 | 6:57 am

Our last Greenhouse Training Online course for 2018!
Interpret water quality tests for irrigation of greenhouse and nursery crops, select appropriate water treatment technologies, and design a water treatment and monitoring system. Irrigation Water & Treatment is the final course for 2018 in the Greenhouse Training Online series offered by the University of Florida IFAS Extension, winner of the 2018 American Society for Horticultural Science Extension Division Education Materials Award.

This is taught at an advanced level, designed for an experienced grower or technical manager. Lessons are offered in English and Spanish, and are taught by professors from six universities in the United States.

The course runs from November 5 to December 7, 2018. It costs $US 199 per participant, and includes a personalized certificate of completion. Over 4 weeks (no classes over Thanksgiving week), there are streaming video lessons, readings and assignments. The 3 to 4 hours of lessons and activities each week can be accessed at any time of day. Bilingual PhD instructors are available via discussion features. Click here to register (http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/training/).

For more information, go to http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/training/, or contact Greenhouse Training, Environmental Horticulture Dept., University of Florida, USA, by emailing greenhousetraining@ifas.ufl.edu.

This course is supported by the Specialty Crop Research Initiative project ‘‘Clean WateR3 – Reduce, Remediate, Recycle’’, #2014-51181-22372, from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Spanish translation is supported by a grant from the American Floral Endowment.

Irrigation Water Quality PDF Flyer



Posted on 10 October 2018 | 6:30 am

Attend an upcoming Indoor Ag-Con event if you are looking to learn about new technologies and network with the key players in the indoor agriculture industry.

When Nicola Kerslake, founder of Newbean Capital, started Indoor Ag-Con in 2013, she was interested in becoming a provider of capital to the indoor agriculture industry.

“Part of the rationale for starting Indoor Ag-Con was to learn the industry, to figure out who makes up the industry, who has interesting and promising technologies and what projects we could fund,” Kerslake said. “We define indoor agriculture as using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic growing techniques in warehouses, greenhouses and containers. We try to be as inclusive as possible. We consider projects as simple as using hoop houses to the most sophisticated plant factories.

“Crops that we cover include leafy greens, mushrooms, alternative protein like insects, cannabis and biodiesel. We are also featuring non-food uses at our upcoming events. This would include pharmaceuticals and biodiesel feed crops.”

Indoor Ag-Con includes two-day annual events hosted in Las Vegas in the spring, and Singapore in the winter.

“At this year’s Singapore event in January we had people from 20 countries,” Kerslake said. “Las Vegas would be similar in terms of attendees participating from a number of other countries, including folks from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, a large number of Europeans, particularly Holland, the UK, Belgium and Germany.

“There is interest from many countries and every growing type because everyone is trying to find a better way of doing things. There is technology that is being deployed in indoor farms in Asia and the United States that is coming from Europe. There are some very interesting and novel approaches coming from European producers. One that comes to mind is Urban Crop Solutions, a Belgian company that does plant factories and container farm technology. The company will customize around what a customer wants to do.”

Indoor Ag-Con was held in Las Vegas, N.V., in May and drew attendees from the United States as well Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, and several European countries.

Photos by Tiffany Clark

Growing interest in Asia

Kerslake said there were several reasons that Singapore was chosen as one of the locations to hold Indoor Ag-Con.

“Asia has as much potential as the U.S. in this industry,” she said. “In particular, we are seeing fast growth in plant factories in places like China. We see some very interesting tech development happening in Japan and South Korea. As a consequence, Asia was a natural place to put our second location after Las Vegas. Singapore is easily accessible from places like Australia, Hong Kong and Shanghai. It also has the kind of quality venues and professional staffs that we like to work with.”

Another reason for choosing Singapore is government officials have been extremely supportive of Indoor Ag-Con. Enterprise Singapore, which was formed in April 2018, is affiliated with the country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“At this year’s January event in Singapore, the senior minister of state, Koh Poh Koon, whose remit covers both agriculture and entrepreneurship came and spoke,” Kerslake said. “More importantly he spent several hours speaking with exhibitors and talking to entrepreneurs. The Singapore government is genuinely interested in seeing the development of the industry there.”

Wide range of participants

Kerslake said the participants who attend Indoor Ag-Con events come from a wide background of interests.

“About a third of the audience is growers,” she said. This could be a guy who is servicing local farmers markets all the way to some of the largest growers in the world. Another third is what we call “tech geeks.” These would include companies that are supplying equipment to the industry and have been for several generations. But it also includes someone who may have invented something in his garage who is trying to find partners or is looking to find a pilot project. One of the things that we really like about our events is that we see people come with an idea and then come back the following year having found partners and distribution for it.

“The third group of participants is what we call “others,” which includes academics, policy makers, investors and some non-profits, such as food banks that are trying to figure out how to incorporate growing. The largest piece of that “other” category is produce buyers and produce companies looking to figure out how they can be a part of the indoor ag industry.”

Chris Higgins (center), general manager at Hort Americas, talks with attendees at Indoor Ag-Con in Las Vegas.

While Indoor Ag-Con attendance is largest at its major events in Las Vegas and Singapore, it has also held smaller events in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York.

“Each of our venues has capacity restrictions,” Kerslake said. “At the Las Vegas events we will have an attendance of around 600. Our East Coast events, which are usually capped at around 130 people, sell out quickly. This November we are collaborating to do a Pop Up Indoor Ag-Con during Edible’s FoodLovesTech in Brooklyn, N.Y., which is expected to draw around 2,000 people. This is the first time that we have done a conference during another group’s event. This conference will be more about New York food and the New York food eco system. We will have speakers from AeroFarms, Bowery Farming and Square Roots. This is a great opportunity for us to be able to introduce our conference to a different audience.

“We really try to adapt to the area that were in and try to include as much local content as we can. We are looking for a balance between what’s happening locally and where the newest and most interesting ideas and technology are coming from.”

Diverse mix of speakers

When choosing speakers for the conferences Kerslake said she is not only looking for people who are knowledgeable about the industry, but have not spoken at events before.

Mark Freeman, who is senior manager of global dining services at Microsoft, spoke at the Indoor Ag-Con in Las Vegas.

“We start with a long list of potential speakers,” she said. “We are trying to find the newest, most interesting topics and we want someone who is attending to get a good grounding in the industry as well. We are also trying to have speakers who are not necessarily the ones that people expect.

“We had Mark Freeman, who heads campus catering at Microsoft, come to speak at one of our Las Vegas events. He had a completely different world view based on the number of people he is feeding every day. That is a really interesting perspective.”

For the upcoming Indoor Ag-Con event in Singapore, Kerslake said the conference will cover three different areas.

“One is technology which includes robotics, automation, LEDs and growing systems,” she said. “This will include everything that’s needed to run a production farm. The second area is plant biology. That tends to be the newer trends that are coming including metagenomics and phenotyping. We also have some practical experience. We introduced some mini-workshops in Las Vegas in the spring. In Singapore we will be doing more workshops with a grower who is an expert producing in tropical climates.”

The third area of focus will be entrepreneurship.

“We focus on this topic much more heavily in Asia than we do in the U.S.,” Kerslake said. “There are a large number of new entrepreneurs coming into the industry. We look at everything from funding to crop selection to insurance, which we also covered in Las Vegas. We are also going to present information on farm failures and what causes them.”
One of the speakers at the upcoming Singapore conference will be Eri Hayashi, who is director of international relations and consulting at the Japanese Plant Factory Association.

“Hayashi will be talking about the use of AI and phenotyping in plant factories,” Kerslake said. “This is a great example of highlighting some of the academic research being done as well as being able to talk about how the Japanese indoor ag industry is using some of these more advanced techniques. The Japanese industry is one of the most advanced in the world.”

Indoor Ag-Con will also be introducing an unconferencing section at its upcoming events.
“We had requests from folks to have more unstructured discussions where people would come together and discuss particular topics,” Kerslake said. “There will be people who are knowledgeable in the industry who will lead discussions about a list of topics. The topics will be chosen before the conference. There will also be public papers available on each topic that attendees can read prior to participating in the discussions along with some suggested questions to think about.”

Singapore pitch competition

Indoor Ag-Con has collaborated with Enterprise Singapore, which has put up S$150,000 to sponsor prizes for Indoor Ag-Ignite, a pitch competition open to entrepreneurs worldwide. Started in 2018, the competition has been expanded for the 2019 conference.

”We are looking for technologies that come from across the world,” Kerslake said. “The pitch application is now online so anybody can apply from anywhere. Applications are due Dec. 10. This is not only a way for someone to receive major funding for their idea, but it is also a great way for them to gain some exposure in the industry.

“We expanded the 2019 competition to include travel stipends. The five finalists will receive a travel stipend to come to Singapore where they will pitch their ideas on the main stage at Indoor Ag-Con. Each of the three winning entrepreneurs will receive S$50,000.

“It is very easy to create a pitch competition where entrepreneurs are charged to come in and pitch. That is the way many competitions are currently done. It is very different what we are doing. It’s a significant amount of work and it’s a very different bench mark when you have a government entity putting up its own capital to do this.”

 

For more: Indoor Ag-Con, (877) 609-6202; hello@indoor.ag; https://indoor.ag.

This article is property of Urban Ag News and was written by David Kuack, a freelance technical writer from Fort Worth, TX.



Posted on 9 October 2018 | 11:42 am

Delta, BC – The Village Farms family came together to raise awareness for the Run for the Cure while exceeding their goal by raising more than $10,000 last week for the Canadian Cancer Society. In addition, Village Farms took home the Pepsi Corporate Spirit Award as the top fundraising corporate team at the CIBC Run for the Cure event on September 28, 2018 in Surrey, BC.

The Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure is a 5k or 1k walk or run that raises funds for Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). It is the largest single-day, volunteer-led event in Canada in support of the breast cancer cause. A team from Village Farms participated in the run lead by VP & Regional Facility Manager of Village Farms Delta, Dirk de Jong.

According to Lindsay Baldrey, Village Farms Foreign Worker Coordinator and team captain who spearheaded the fund raising efforts for the company, “It was really inspiring to see everyone come together, the response and support for this cause was overwhelming. Everyone was ecstatic that we received the Corporate Spirit Award and we’re really looking forward to seeing how we can grow even more next year!”

The Canadian Cancer Society invests the funds raised into breast cancer research, support services, health education and advocacy programs. Their mission is to reduce the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, reduce mortality for those who develop the disease, and improve the quality of life for those affected.

Baldrey continued, “A huge thank you goes out to all the staff in our USA & Canada offices, as well as the Packhouse and Greenhouse workers, and our foreign workers who generously donated toward this important cause that we hope one day will find a cure”. For more information about Village Farms visit their website at www.villagefarms.com

 


About Village Farms

Village Farms is one of the largest producers, marketers, and distributors of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables in North America. The food our farmers grow, along with other greenhouse farmers under exclusive arrangements are all grown in environmentally friendly, soil-less, glass greenhouses. The Village Farms® brand of fruits and vegetables is marketed and distributed primarily to local retail grocers and dedicated fresh food distributors throughout the United States and Canada. Since its inception, Village Farms has been guided by sustainability principles that enable us to grow food 365 days a year that not only feeds the growing population but is healthier for people and the planet. Village Farms is Good for the Earth® and good for you.



Posted on 4 October 2018 | 6:47 am

Dr. Joel L. Cuello, Professor of Biosystems Engineering at the University of Arizona brings us a TEDx talk on artificial intelligence as it can relate to food production for the growing global population.

Our planet sorely needs the help of artificial intelligence to achieve the increase in food production that our growing population demands in the face of scarce resources.

Vertical farming is already applying artificial intelligence and is sustainable with renewable energy.



Posted on 4 October 2018 | 6:30 am

Moleaer, the leading manufacturer of industrial-scale nanobubble generators, announces that the Big Tex Urban Farms has installed its Boost nanobubble generator to increase crop production. Throughout the growing season, Big Tex Urban Farms donates all its produce to local Dallas area organizations.

Big Tex Urban Farms wanted to incorporate an innovative solution that would help them grow more food per square foot to provide more produce to their local community. After evaluating several options, they chose Moleaer’s nanobubble generator. The generator boosts the deep-water culture’s dissolved oxygen content through oxygen-enriched nanobubbles. When roots are exposed to oxygen- enriched nanobubbles combined with elevated dissolved oxygen content, they can absorb nutrients more effectively, translating into higher yields and ultimately, more food for the local community.

When Big Tex Urban Farms lost power, temperatures in the greenhouse soared above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The nanobubble-infused water was able to mitigate the effects. Nanobubbles are unique because they are neutrally buoyant and remain suspended in water for long periods of time. In this capacity, they act like a battery, maintaining dissolved oxygen in the water beyond the point of aeration. When the farm lost power, the nanobubbles saved the crop by keeping the plants healthy until power was restored. The tank that did not incorporate a nanobubble generator experienced significant losses, demonstrating a unique benefit of nanobubbles in high-temperature applications.

Moleaer Inc., nanoBoost-enhanced roots on far left

“Big Tex Farms State Fair Project is all about growing, harvesting, and donating produce. We give everything that we grow away to the local community,” said Drew Demler, Director of Horticulture at the State Fair of Texas. “We are trying to feed people and we think that the Moleaer nanobubble system is going to be a big part of how we can get more fresh produce to South Dallas.”


 

About Moleaer

Moleaer (Latin for tiny air) is a Los Angeles based company that develops industrial scale nanobubble generators to enhance a wide range of processes. Nanobubbles do not float, have immense surface area and stay suspended in water for long periods of time resulting in an unprecedented high rate of gas transfer. These extraordinary properties are proven to help farmers grow more food, oil and mining companies recover more valuable resources and operators treat wastewater more cost effectively.



Posted on 3 October 2018 | 6:30 am

Green Sense Farms Holdings, Inc., today announced the formation of a joint venture with RUFEPA a Spanish greenhouse builder with over 25 years of turnkey project experience.

The joint venture will focus on building combined indoor vertical farm and greenhouse projects for third parties to sustainably grow a wide range of vegetables using less land, water and energy- to feed a growing global population. This is the first of its kind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Using indoor vertical farms to grow leafy greens and healthy, disease free seedlings that can be directly transplanted into a greenhouse to grow to maturity is a cost-effective use of both indoor growing technologies.” Robert Colangelo, President, Green Sense Farms Holdings, Inc.,

“Combining the two technologies will increase the global production of vegetables by taking weather out of the equation which is ideal for growers in Middle East, APAC and Scandinavian countries.” José Antonio Morales Pérez, Director General, RUFEPA

 


Green Sense Farms Holdings, Inc., based in Portage, IN is a pioneer in indoor vertical farming.

The company is building a network of indoor vertical farms in the US they own and operate at their customers location. They also design, build, and license their technology to operating partners abroad. Recently they added capacity to conduct R&D on new cultivars and indoor growing equipment on a contract basis for third parties at their commercial scale production facility.

To schedule an interview with Robert Colangelo or obtain additional photos please contact
Angela Meadows by email at Angela@greensensefarms.com

RUFEPA based in the Spanish southern region of Murcia, Spain, designs, manufacturers and
provides all the technical growing equipment necessary for the construction and operation of a greenhouse. They are a global provider of services and have built projects in every continent.



Posted on 1 October 2018 | 6:45 am

Survey to provide insight on emerging indoor farming trends and challenges now live.

BROOKLYN, N.Y.

Agrilyst today released their third annual State of Indoor Farming Survey. This survey will give Agrilyst and growers insight on emerging trends and challenges in the greenhouse and vertical farming industries.

Last year, Agrilyst received over 150 responses from indoor farmers for the 2017 State of Indoor Farming report. The report shared insight on the benefits and challenges for growers. According to the report, 25% of growers responded that their biggest challenge is capital – from access to working capital to expansion capital to cost of production. Even though they faced these challenges, 51% of growers reported operating profitably.

Allison Kopf, CEO of Agrilyst said, “this year we are digging even further into the costs of operating an indoor farm. We hope that the report will give everyone insight on the industry and help new growers get up and running faster.”

More and better data collected means more insights for growers. Growers can participate in the 2018 State of Indoor Farming survey here. The survey takes approximately 25 minutes to complete.

 


About Agrilyst

Agrilyst is the leading provider of software solutions for the greenhouse and vertical
farming industries and is used by growers in more than 10 countries.



Posted on 28 September 2018 | 1:39 pm

Join three CEA scientists (Chieri Kubota, Erik Runkle and Cary Mitchell) who are organizing an online monthly forum series, called ‘Indoor Ag Science Café’. This online forum has been designed to discuss the science and technologies that can contribute to indoor controlled environment agriculture (AKA vertical farms). According to Chieri, “we wish to make the forum develop as a non-competitive, informal communication platform among indoor agriculture industries”.

Please contact Chieri Kubota (kubota.10@osu.edu) if you would like to join the Café.

The most recent topic presented by Erik Runkle at the Café is now available:



Posted on 21 September 2018 | 6:30 am

GLASE gears up for its first meeting:

Guidelines for new Controlled Environment Agriculture energy-efficient technology adoption

November 5, 2018
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Statler Hotel, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Lighting control is the last frontier in controlled environment agriculture. Well-designed horticultural lighting systems can reduce energy use and increase profits for greenhouses and indoor farms. GLASE is bringing together New York Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) growers with local utility companies, USDA officials and service providers to provide CEA growers with all the resources available for energy-efficient lighting and control systems technology adoption.

CEA growers attending the conference will have the opportunity to learn about all the opportunities available on the market to support new technology adoption:

• Financial opportunities
• State rebate programs
• Federal incentive programs
• Utility energy rebate programs

Speakers

• Gary Pereira – USDA Rural Development
• Dale Gates – USDA National Resources Conservation Service
• Robert Muller – National Grid
• Dustin Broderick – NYSEG
• Damon Bosetti – DesignLights Consortium
• Owen Raymond – Farm Credit East
• Neil Mattson – Cornell University
• Tessa Pocock – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
• A.J. Both – Rutgers University
• Erico Mattos – GLASE consortium

For more information and to register: https://glase.org/conference/



Posted on 19 September 2018 | 6:42 am

VegBed increases mat weight and introduces their growing medium in roll form

The new Bamboo Fiber Microgreens Roll now offered in 10” x 400” (Photo: VegBed)

New York, NY – Sept 10, 2018

VegBed.com, the leader in innovative hydroponic growing medium, announced they released updated versions of their popular bamboo fiber microgreen mats. The company has been working closely with microgreens farmers to help design the new product.

The mat weight has been increased from 160gsm to 200gsm to allow for even more water absorption. The normal 10” x 20” mat will be able to hold about 10X’s its weight in water. The new roll option now offers the bamboo fiber with dimensions of 10” x 400”, great for large scale farms.

“I am very excited to announce Version 2 of our product as well as the option to purchase the bamboo fiber as a roll. A lot of farmers have channels and different sized trays, so we created the roll to help accommodate the custom sizing. Now, our bamboo fiber microgreens mat will be able to work with a variety of systems”, says VegBed founder Albert Lin.

VegBed has been researching and producing easy to use, clean and innovative growing mediums for the hydroponic market since 2018. The company ships worldwide and works closely with farmers to help bring them solutions to their specific farm setups.

 

To learn more about VegBed growing mediums, future plans, or to book an interview, contact Albert Lin at (646)-247-1783 or email, info@vegbed.com, or visit the website at www.vegbed.com

 

About VegBed

VegBed provides the cleanest and easiest to use grow medium for hydroponic farms and other horticultural applications. We currently offer 3 products – foam grow cubes, bamboo fiber microgreen mats and a bamboo fiber microgreens roll.

VegBed can custom size their products for many application types – aeroponics, deep water culture, nutrient film technique, floating raft, vertical, flood & drain and many more. We work with commercial farms, hobby growers and are headquartered in New York, NY.



Posted on 18 September 2018 | 6:30 am

Article by The Upstart University Team

The Farm Bill is moving in Congress and could impact your farm.

As you may have learned in our previous post, Congress typically rewrites the Farm Bill every five years and is currently in the process of writing a new Farm Bill with the goal of passing it by the end of September. The next two and a half weeks are a critical time for farmers who want to inform the decisions made around this bill.

So what’s in it for you?

Each Farm Bill contains resources for farmers of all kinds, but the current bill presents unique opportunities for indoor farmers.

Several members of Congress have proposed that the new Farm Bill include policies and programs that could benefit your indoor farm. Read on for three potential inclusions that could impact your business.

 

1) A USDA office focused on indoor agriculture and other emerging food and ag technologies

One proposed change in the Farm Bill is to create a new office and advisory committee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will be focused specifically on helping those using new and emerging food and ag technologies navigate USDA loan, grant and technical assistance programs, connect with experts, and share best practices. The advisory committee will include producers using emerging technologies to grow food, like indoor farmers.

 

2) Expanded eligibility for renewable energy loans & grants

In a recent survey of Upstart University members, all respondents agreed that they plan on investing in energy efficient equipment of some kind:

  • 56% plan on investing in energy efficient lighting
  • 39% plan on investing in energy efficient cooling systems
  • 36% plan on investing in energy efficient pumps
2018 farm bill - energy efficiency

Which of the following systems do you plan to invest in over the next year?

Proposed updates to an existing Farm Bill program called the Rural Energy for America Program could benefit indoor farmers who want to use energy efficient equipment. This update to the program would make certain indoor farmers eligible to apply for direct loan guarantees and grants to support renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades.

 

3) Boosted indoor agriculture research

Another proposed change to the Farm Bill directs USDA to focus on indoor agriculture production in public agricultural research, education and extension activities. While current public research activities do benefit indoor agriculture, this expanded focus will create new opportunities to test ideas and techniques that will lead to more productive agriculture.

 

Help Get a Farm Bill That Supports Indoor Agriculture

One of the most important things you can do is to call your Member of Congress and urge them to support a Farm Bill that includes policies and programs that could benefit indoor agriculture.

When you call, make sure to tell them that you live in their District and that you own or operate an indoor farming business that is contributing to your state’s agriculture industry.

Here’s what to ask for in the Farm Bill:

  • An office and advisory committee at USDA focused on indoor agriculture and other emerging food and ag technologies
  • Updating the Rural Energy for America Program, an existing Farm Bill program, to allow certain indoor farmers to be eligible to apply for direct loans and grants for new equipment
  • Including indoor agriculture production in public research, education and extension activities

Visit www.house.gov to locate contact information for your Member of Congress. Be sure to make your calls before September 30.



Posted on 17 September 2018 | 6:30 am

From the Coalition for Sustainable Organics

The USDA has published the pre-meeting materials on their website for the Fall 2018 National Organic Standards Board meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota to be held from October 24-26.  The Discussion Documents and Formal Proposals do NOT include anything specific to greenhouse, container, hydroponic, aeroponic or aquaponic production systems. Those topics remain on the inactive work agenda of the National Organic Standards Board in spite of calls from an NOSB member to place the topic back on the active agenda.

In addition to the review of materials for the National List, the NOSB will review other topics including research priorities, strengthening the requirements for the use of organic seed in crop production, further defining excluded plant breeding methods, criteria for accreditation oversight and training and oversight of inspectors among others.

If you would like to give verbal comments directly to the members of the NOSB and to the broader organic community, you may sign up through the following links for the webinars on October 16 and 18 or in person on October 24/25. The deadline to sign up is October 4 or until all of the speaking slots have been allocated. Those slots have filled up before the deadline for the last several meetings.

You may also submit written comments for the public record by October 4.



Posted on 14 September 2018 | 12:44 pm

Article by Amy Storey, Upstart Farmers

In a recent survey conducted by Upstart University, 70% of respondents stated that they were unsure of whether the Farm Bill would impact their [future] business. Yet ironically all respondents plan on investing in some kind of energy-efficient equipment in the next year, whether that’s lighting, HVAC, pumps, or motors.

These two facts conflict with each other! Why? Because the Farm Bill directly influences how billions of government dollars are allocated —and that includes the programs that can help farmers launch or scale their farms.

In other words: the Farm Bill will affect your business more than you think! And the next month is a critical period.

Survey respondents also rated their Farm Bill knowledge at an average of 14—out of a hundred. Ouch.To help youget up to speed, here’s a quick primer on the Farm Bill, its contents, how it’s created, and how you can impact the outcome.

The Farm Bill is the biggest collection of food and ag-related policy for the U.S.

The Farm Bill affects most farmers and their businesses.

The Farm Bill is the most powerful collection of food, nutrition and agricultural policy, intertwined with all kinds of farms, how they function, and the economics surrounding them. It’s separated into sections (“titles”) that cover the policy around a certain topic, from conservation and energy, to nutrition programs, to rural development, to crop insurance, to beginning farmers. Every farmer has a vested interest in at least one of these topics!

You can read short explanations of each title here.

If you’ve been listening to news or skimming headlines in the last few months, you’ve seen discussions of the upcoming version of the Farm Bill. The reason that so many people are involved in the Bill is that it decides how a lot of money is directed. For example, the last Farm Bill cost an estimated 95 billion dollars a year. Roughly 75% of that went towards nutrition programs (mostly SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

With so much funding and other programs and benefits hanging in the balance, there’s a lot to fight for.  (Learn more about that in our next post.)

How the Farm Bill works

In most cases, the Farm Bill has a defined 5-year lifecycle with distinct decision making points. It starts wh

en two different versions of the Bill are drafted—one by the House Agriculture committee, and one by the Senate Agriculture committee. Once the drafts have been passed in the House and the Senate, a new “conference committee” is formed to work out the differences. It includes the Chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture committees as well as a mix of other Senators and Representatives. (This is the current stage of the Farm Bill. Meet the Conference Committee members from the Senate and the House.)

The Conference Committee members will reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill into a single piece of legislation. That legislation goes back to be debated and voted on in both the House and the Senate. If it doesn’t pass, the debate goes back to the Ag Committees.  When it does pass Congress, it is sent to the President and becomes law if it is signed. On rare occasions, the President has vetoed Farm Bills in the past. Congress can then vote to override a veto with a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber.

farm bill process

 

A process designed for input

When the Farm Bill was first created under President Roosevelt in the wake of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, it had three original goals: fair food prices, adequate food supply, and protectio

n of America’s natural resources. It is the duty of the Agriculture Committees to protect these goals.

You are an expert on the minute details and nuances of how those goals play out. You live them every day! This makes your insight a precious resource to those working on the Farm Bill. (Hurray for democratic government!) One of the best things you can do is make sure that lawmakers are aware of your needs by speaking up.

Stay tuned for more on the Farm Bill and what it means for your business

Curious what will affect your farm the most in the Farm Bill? Next time, we’re going to cover specific issues in the Farm Bill that could affect indoor farmers—and what you can do about them.



Posted on 14 September 2018 | 8:43 am

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